Escaping Her Pursuers
She made her way as swiftly as she could down the block in the hopes that she would run into one of the nearby alleys and escape her pursuers. That evening it had rained, and as she hurried by, water splattered on the chilly sidewalk.
She was pursued by loud footsteps, and the man she was eluding sounded too near for comfort with his labored breathing. Since she knew she wouldn't lose him in an alley, she made a quick turn and dashed inside the first door she came across.
Regin, an engineering student in his eighteenth year, lived in Chicago, Illinois. She was a native of New York and had only spent a limited amount of time there before enrolling in college.
Regin had little knowledge of the place she was living in as a freshman at the University of Illinois.
A Responsible Person
The two main focuses of Regin's life were work and school. She would conduct quick errands for specific customers in the city after her lessons, such as picking up dry cleaning, children from daycare, and grocery shopping.
Regin would spend long days in school and then, due to work, spend her evenings in the city. She would arrive at her apartment exhausted and spent at the end of each day. But that would soon change.
Like any other night, Regin's tragic night—the night that would forever alter his life—began. After spending the day in and out of courses, she was doing errands in West Town by nightfall.
As night approached, a chilly downpour descended upon the city, and although Regin didn't carry an umbrella. Things would only get direr now.
A Night Off
When it began to rain, Regin had finished most of her errands. Half past seven, and the rain showed no signs of stopping. Regin informed her manager over the phone about the circumstance.
Regin's supervisor felt sorry for her. She agreed to postpone the remaining duties until tomorrow. Regin was able to unwind on the bus ride home, but then she got a surprise SMS.
The Beginning of It All
The text said, "Are you still in West Town?" Regin's roommate was the one who asked if Regin may visit a certain pharmacy for medication in that area of the city.
Regin acknowledged that it was still early and got off the bus. But she realized the terrible circumstance she was in when the bus drove off without her.
Regin chose to get off the bus in one of the poorest areas of the city out of all the possible locations. As she waited for the next bus, she could see shadowy skyscrapers staring down at her and water puddles shining on the roadway.
She saw that she was in one of the city's riskiest districts as her eyes flew about. What possibly could go wrong?
Cold Out There
Regin had seen enough films about America's deadly streets. These restaurants, more often than not, always lived up to their reputation.
Although she knew she should have waited for the next bus, she decided to go outside and hunt for a cab despite her better judgment. She just wanted to get out of the neighborhood as soon as possible.
Regin stepped onto the dark roadway in front of her. The street was completely deserted even though it was still after sunset.
She began to regret her choice as she traveled farther into the neighborhood. She continued on despite knowing it was too late to turn around. She resisted a sinking sensation that was screaming at her from deep within her belly. She should've paid attention.
Becoming a target
Regin could hear her sneakers consistently pounding on the pavement as she went. She then heard a car approaching from behind, so she stepped to the pavement to make room for it. It didn't, though.
It became slower. She turned her head to the side and saw a big man saying something softly that she couldn't make out. She wanted to make as much distance as she could from him.
A Light Up Ahead
Up ahead was a parking lot and Regin breathed a sigh of relief. If she could just get into the light, she would be safe. Suddenly, the car that had been following her pulled into the lot and parked behind her.
She heard the car door slam as the man got out, but she kept her eyes on the beacon of light and edged along the building. She just had to keep walking.
The windows of the building were still lit, and she prayed that there was someone around to help her. She could hear the heavy thud of the man's boots behind her now, and she was all too aware that they were growing louder.
With her suspicions confirmed, she started to run. A few more feet and she would reach the building. But a rough hand wrapped around her wrist.
Regin let out a terrified scream, praying that someone would hear her. The man tailed her relentlessly, undeterred by the public parking lot and exposure from the twinkling lights.
Soon he was upon her. He grabbed her wrist and picked her up swiftly from behind, slinging her over his shoulder like she weighed nothing. But Regin wasn’t going without a fight.
Fight Or Flight
Regin pummelled the burly man's back with her little fists, to no avail. He leaned over and opened his trunk, but Regin had adrenaline on her side – it was coursing through her veins.
She wasn't going down without a fight. She squirmed in his arms and managed to wriggle from his grip. Before she even hit the ground, she was running.
Running running running, her legs pumped furiously as she made a beeline for the lights. But the man was closing in again, and Regin searched for something – anything – that she could put between herself and the furious man behind her.
He was enraged now, and every footstep hit the ground with such a force Regin swore she could feel it. She had one option left, and if that door was locked, she was done for.
Fear and awareness shot through Regin, and she ran faster than she ever had in her life. Whoever had grabbed her was fast on her heels, and she knew she couldn’t let him get to her.
The man’s footfalls thundered in Regin’s ear as she ran. Already out of breath and with her assailant gaining on her, Regin did the unthinkable.
Regin took the first corner that came into her shaky view. A glass door materialized before her eyes, and she shot for it.
Regin put her hands out in front of her and closed her eyes, hoping she wouldn't go through the glass. But as she hit the door with her palms, it gave way, and she was inside.
Holding The Door Closed
Regin struggled furiously to hold the door’s handle from the inside, throwing her shoulder with all her weight against the frame and refusing to move. Her eyes locked on her pursuer through the glass.
She swallowed when he walked into view, and she saw the terrifying expression on his face. And then it happened.
The Unexpected Happens
“Open this door,” the pursuer demanded as he ran a hand across his lips. He spat on the tarmac and repeated his statement.
“Or what?” another voice answered, and Regin spun around to find a man dressed in a gi. “Don’t open it,” the man said calmly, placing a hand on Regin’s shoulder. But what the pursuer did next made them step back.
Randall Ephraim was looking forward to going home to be with his family, but there was just one more thing he needed to do after a long day of classes. He pulled the mats up off the floor and rolled them up before stacking them neatly in the storeroom.
He felt relaxed, as he always did after class. He loved his job. His muscles felt warm and supple as he swept the studio. Little did Randall know that this was the calm before the storm.
Sensei Randall had been teaching in West Town since 2007, when he arrived in the windy city of Chicago, illinois.
His love for karate started at the tender age of 11 when he started training with Shihan Clyde Coy. He studied under the master for 7 years and then received his black belt in 2004. But Randall had never needed to use his skills. Until now.
The Hand Of Karma
"He was very strong—very, very strong," Ephraim said in an interview with WSOC. "He weighed at least 200 (pounds) and some change, under the influence— a very strong, powerful individual."
Nevertheless, Randall took him down. As soon as the man tried to enter the Bushiken Karate Charlotte Dojo, Randall was ready for him.
Sensei Randall had just seconds to react when he saw the terrified young woman fly through the front door with a bang as she screamed for help and tried to hold the door closed.
Suddenly, he knew exactly what was happening. He saw the man's intentions written all over his angry face. The man was not prepared for Randall, but Randall had been ready for this moment all of his life.
Two Forces Collide
The pursuer lunged forward, throwing the glass door open. Regin‘s breaths were ragged and tearing into her lungs, and she was shaking with fear.
But in the space of a second, the man standing next to Regin had pushed her behind him. He met Regin’s pursuer head-on. “Go inside,” he ordered gruffly. What was happening?
It’s Safe Here
Regin sprinted deeper into the building. Her heart thundered within her chest and adrenaline surged in her veins. The sound of the scuffle faded behind her as she surged into a brightly lit room.
Regin braked, her palms falling on her knees. She struggled to breathe as her sight took in several Japanese paintings hung on the wall. She looked around wide-eyed, finally realizing where she was.
A Well-Oiled Machine
Randall's muscles slid smoothly into place. He relaxed his shoulders and delivered a devastating blow with his powerful right leg.
He hit him squarely in the chest, and the man staggered back, reeling. But the man seemed unstoppable, blinded by rage. He leaped up, and when he came at Randall again, he came in swinging.
Randall stood still and waited. The man's fist swung uselessly past his right shoulder, and he seized the opportunity.
He used no windups and he wasted no motion, each arc of his arms was designed to roll into a single swing as he struck. The man jerked from side to side under the onslaught, with his full body weight powering his lurching body into the next blow.
The Police Arrive
Then, Randall locked the man's head into place with his elbows, but it was unnecessary. The police arrived shortly afterward, but the work was done.
The would-be-kidnapper was carefully wheeled out of the parking lot on a stretcher, to the astonishment of onlookers. Randall stood with calm composure as they took his statement.
“She Didn't Know Him"
"There were still some kids in the dojo being picked up by parents and a couple of adult students cleaning up when a young lady came through our doors and stated that someone was trying to harm her," Randall Ephraim stated.
"Shortly afterward, a big male entered the building... [the woman] insisted that she did not know him and [he] tried to kidnap her."
"I then went into action defending myself and got him out of the dojo. Once outside he attempted to attack again and was dealt with accordingly," Randall added.
The assailant has since been identified as 47-year-old August Williams, and he is a repeat offender. Hopefully, after his encounter with Sensei Randall, he'll think twice next time.
No Words Are Enough
As luck would have it, the first turn Regin took landed her in a karate studio. She’d been even luckier that the studio’s instructor had been around when she needed help. After a few questions, the police drove Regin home. Although she thanked Randall for saving her life, she knew no words could ever convey how grateful she was for his help.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.